Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Walter White, er... Heisenberg, er... Bryan Cranston Must be Stopped!


Walter White's alter-ego visited Dodger Stadium last night and I'm not talking about that Heisenberg fellow we all fear.  Instead, White now mask himself as a bigger-than-life Hollywood celebrity named Bryan Cranston, and he quickly enamored himself to the crowd with a comic-book-like shapeshifting skill the likes have not seen since the emergence of Mystique.

He was captivating and charming, gracious and humble... But, deep down you know that that evil monster is lurking in the shadows.  White must be on a scouting trip to set up a new base of operations on the West Coast, and if something isn't done soon to stop him we will all have to pay a steep price.  He even charmed the heck out of our vaunted saint Vin Scully; as evidenced in the photo above. And check out this video below of him running around the press room like he owns it... For shame, Walter White!

Video Link:

I'm sure you're saying, "But Ernest, he's an upstanding member of the community now!"

I say to you, "I think not."

How do I know?

Let me show you.  I got proof.  See it below.
(pic via @MLB on twitter)

Walter White, the scourge of New Mexico, the master cook of the blue crystal, the drug dealer that even the mafia is afraid of, tried to recruit Dodger reliever Brian Wilson into his world of crime.

White wrote, "I can use a guy like you," and gave it to Brian Wilson.

Make no mistake folks, Heisenberg is not dead... Oh, No!  He's alive and well.

Photos at the top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Erisbel Arruebarrena's First Public Appearance

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

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Dodgers minor league infielder Eerisbel Arruebarrena will be making his very first public apeparance this coming Saturday at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry.  Go here for more information.  Check out the flyer below.
Frank & Son Collectible Show
19649 San Jose Avenue
City of Industry, CA

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Blog Kiosk: 8/20/2014 - Dodger Links - Dodgers Win, Grienke Questionable and Orel's Ice Bucket Challenge


The Dodgers eeked out a victory last night against the Padres.  After a miserable start that saw him give up three early runs, starter Kevin Correia settled down to give the Dodgers a chance.  All they had to do was score some runs.  As you know, of course, that's been easier said than done.  Fortunately, several Dodgers in the lineup where up to the task.

The middle of the Dodgers batting order woke up and got the job done.  Matt Kemp hit two doubles, Justin Turner whacked two doubles of his own and Carl Crawford blasted a home run to go along with two singles.  They punished Padres starter Ian Kennedy for six runs and eventually held on for an 8 to 6 victory. The above photo is of Crawford, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

Of note, the very last play of the game had to be reviewed by the umpires.  Jedd Gyorko singled to Puig, who subsequently threw home to get the advancing runner, Abraham Almonte.  Seeing this, Almonte rounded thirdbase and headed back, but was picked off.  Adrian Gonzalez had cutoff Puig's throw and nailed him.  After a umpire review he was called out to end the game.  Watch it here.

The Dodgers now have a four 4.5 game lead over the Giants.  Here are some more links to check out below.
  • ICYMI: The Dodgers called up amateur pugilist Erisbel Arruebarrena from AAA and sent Carlos Triunfel back to Albuquerque.  Per a Dodgers press release:
Arruebarrena most recently played in three rehab games for the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers (right shoulder soreness), going 4-for-11 with two doubles, two homers and four RBI, and has batted .333 with three doubles, two triples, a homer and 11 RBI in 26 games with the Isotopes this season. The 24-year-old has gone 5-for-16 (.313) with two RBI in eight games in two previous call-ups with the Dodgers.

 
"If he holds up in that setting and everything's good with his foot, then we kind of move into getting him into a bullpen situation, where he's getting back into our routine," Mattingly said.
“It’s not your typical stuff coming from a kid who just turned 18,” said (Matt) Herges. “You see the numbers on the fastball. He touches upper 90′s. You see the spin on his breaking ball and you’re thinking this is an upper level guy or an older guy. You see the changeup that makes everybody look foolish.”
  • Greatest coach ever!  Via Mike Oz at Big League Stew, "Little League World Series coach delivers heartwarming speech after loss."
  • Watch Orel Hershiser accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise awareness for ALS, below.

Video Link:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Padres Series Starts Tonight - Scheduled Autograph Signings, Game Give Aways and Other Stuff!


The next homestand starts this evening against the San Diego Padres, and several old-tyme Dodgers will be in the house to sign free autographs for fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

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Tuesday, August 19th at 7:10 PM
RHP Ian Kennedy vs. RHP Kevin Correia

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM. UCLA men’s basketball team Steve Alford will throw the ceremonial first pitch.

The Dodgers and the California Fire Foundation will celebrate the first annual Firefighter Appreciation Night at Dodger Stadium.  Ralph Terrazas, the first Latino fire chief of the LAFD, will throw a first pitch.

Former Dodgers Ken Landreaux (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Lee Lacy (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ricardo Flemate of Whittier. Flemate enlisted in 2005 and serves as an Infantry Squad Leader whose role is face-to-face combat. He is responsible for his teams’ readiness, health, welfare and morale. He has served two year-long deployments to Afghanistan, to the Korengal Valley in 2008 and returned in July from a combat tour in Logar Province. Flemate’s accolades include a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in combat and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for saving the life of a fellow soldier involved in a firefight. 
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Wednesday, August 20th at 7:10 PM
LHP Eric Stults vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM.  It is another Dodger bobblehead day. The first 50,000 fans will receive a Zack Greinke Bobblehead.  See the bobblehead on the right.  BTW, this game will be aired on ESPN.

Former Dodgers Derrel Thomas (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Billy Ashley (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Air Corps 2nd Lieutenant Wallace E. Hull of Hidden Hills. The U.S. Army Air Corps was in place before the U.S. Air Force began in 1947. Hull enlisted in 1943 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and was a co-pilot of a B-17. He flew combat missions in Germany throughout World War II. After one mission, his plane, called “GET ‘EM YANK,” had 33 holes from enemy fire. Following the war, he flew relief missions, dropping food to victims of war and flying POWs back to their home countries. Hull’s accolades include an Air Medal with three Clusters.
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Thursday, August 21st at 7:10PM
RHP Tyson Ross vs. RHP Zack Grinke

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM.

Jamie Chung, who will next be seen in theatres this Friday as “Miho” in “SIN CITY 2: A Dame To Kill For” will throw the ceremonial first pitch.  The Dodgers will pay tribute to the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympics. The tribute will include 1984 Olympians Anita L. DeFrantz, Paul Gonzales, Danny Harris, Sherri Howard, Rafer Johnson, Greg Louganis and Cheryl Miller.  Steep Canyon Rangers, a Grammy award-winning American bluegrass band from North Carolina, will perform the national anthem.

Former Dodgers Al “The Bull” Ferrara (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Al Downing (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Private First Class Sudy Ayvazia.

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2014 Topps Finest Baseball - The Dodger Autograph Cards

Here's a final look at the Dodger cards that can be found in 2014 Finest Baseball card boxes.  Take a look at the Dodger autographed cards below.  Of special note, this set features the very first Erisbel Arruebarrena autographed card.  Go here to check out my past post on this set.

Autographed Rookies Set

#RA-AG Alexander Guerrero               #RA-EA Erisbel Arruebarruena


#RA-OG Onelki Garcia

Finest Greats Autographs Set

#FGA-SK Sandy Koufax

Finest Vintage Autographs Set

#FV-DS Duke Snider

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Blog Kiosk: 8/19/2014 - Dodger Links - "Creeping Concern over Zack Greinke's Elbow"


I absolutely love this vintage photograph of Babe Ruth as a Dodger coach in 1938.  It comes from the Leslie Jones Colelction at the Boston Public Library, posted on twitter via @ToddRadom.
"Adding a player in July and August to a contending team sends a message into the room that we appreciate what they've done and we're all on the same page to make us as good as we can get. It can give the club a burst of energy and focus. I think it's important, which is why we've done it every year but one."
Gurnick includes a list of waiver wire deals the Dodgers have made since 2006. BTW, Gurnick also throws in this little dity about a possible Greinke injury.
Nonetheless, already this month Colletti has shored up the suddenly vulnerable starting rotation with Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia, who have made three solid starts. Those were triggered by injuries to Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu, as well as creeping concern over Zack Greinke's elbow (emphasis mine).
Oh, no!  Say it ain't so, Ned.
They have 36 games remaining; 21 of them are at home and 27 of them are against teams with losing records. That’s right: Los Angeles has only nine games remaining against winning teams all season — and only three road games against a winning team (San Francisco, September 12-14).
Dee opened his stance a bit, holds his hands lower, and has a pronounced crouch now.
  • Via Brandon Lennox at True Blue LA, "Joc Pederson hits 30th homer, Julio Urias tosses a gem."  Joc is two stolen bases away from having a 30/30 season.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation held their 12th annual Charity Golf Invitational yesterday.  Go here to take a look at a bunch of photos from the event, via Jon SooHooMichael Lananna at MLB.com, wrote a story about it: "Dodgers take their swings for a good cause."  Kenny Loften was in attendance.  Watch him chomp on a Double-Double below.
  • Awesome!  Here is LA Kings coach Darryl Sutter getting doused for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while holding the Stanley Cup, via the Kings Instagram account


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Burleigh Grimes - Vintage Photo of his Spit Ball Grip

Former Dodger and Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes was born on this day in 1893 - 121-years ago.  He pitched for the Dodgers early in his career from 1918 to 1926; having recorded an 158-121 record, 3.46 ERA and 205 complete games for Uncle Robbie's "Daffiness Boys" in Brooklyn.  Overall, he had 270 wins and was indicted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Ol' Stubblebeard, as he was called, is noted for being one of the few players legally allowed to throw a spit ball.  When the pitch was banned in 1920 Grimes, who was 26-years old at the time, was one of only 17 ballplayers exempted from the ban and grandfathered in.  So, he used it to his hearts content and parlayed his skill at throwing the offending pitch into a Hall of Fame career.  By the time he retired in 1934, Burleigh Grimes was the very last spit ball pitcher in the Major Leagues.

In commemoration of his birthday check out this great vintage press photo that I found on eBay showing off his grip for throwing the spit ball, below.  As you can see, it is basically a two-seam fastball grip with a little bit of grease on the side.
(eBay Auction Link)

Below is the reverse of the photograph and includes a byline.
(eBay Auction Link)

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2014 Topps Finest Baseball - The Dodger Insert Cards

Following up on Friday's post featuring the Dodger base cards to the 2014 Finest Baseball card set, here are the various Dodger insert cards that are available.  Go here to check out my past post on this set.

Of special note, there is a Mike Piazza card in a Dodger uniform available.  It's a part of the Finest Vintage Insert set.  It looks like he just took a big swing on a pitch up-'n-away for a homer to the opposite field.  Awesome!

1994 Finest Insert Set

#94F-CK Clayton Kershaw                      #94F-YP Yasiel Puig

Finest Vintage Insert Set

#FV-DS Duke Snider                          #FV-MP Mike Piazza

#FV-SK Sandy Koufax

Sterling Insert Set

#TS-CK Clayton Kershaw

#TS-YP Yasiel Puig

Finest Competitors Refractor Insert Set

#FC-CK Clayton Kershaw

#FC-YP Yasiel Puig

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A Dodger Stadium Exclusive - Montejo Cerveza


Last week, Montejo Cerveza, a import from Anheuser-Busch, invited me to a promotional dinner/get together at Dodger Stadium to usher in the newest brew to be available at games.  Unfortunately, I could not attend - primarily because my day job got in the way.  Damn you day job!

No worries though, the folks who put together the shindig were kind enough to pass along some photos to share.  You can see those below.

From what I understand, Montejo has been around for over 100 years and has been a regional favorite in the Yucatan for many decades.  Now, for the remainder of the Baseball season only fans attending games at Dodger Stadium can enjoy this lager.  It is an exclusive to Dodger Stadium.
“Our brewmasters have perfected the Montejo recipe using time-honored Mexican brewing traditions. The result is a bright, smooth and full-flavored lager with a crisp finish.”
Mmmmm... I am getting thirsty. 
LA Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela greets fans to celebrate the arrival of Montejo authentic Mexican Lager at Dodger Stadium on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)

My biggest regret, besides not getting fed and having a chance to get my drink on for free, was missing out on an opportunity to meet Fernando Valenzuela.  What a bummer.
Fans get the first taste of Montejo at Dodger Stadium on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles,. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)
Michael Young, SVP of Corporate Partnerships of the LA Dodgers, introduces the arrival of Montejo beer exclusively at Dodger Stadium before wider release Sept. 1, along with, left to right, Chef Jaime Martin del Campo, Fernando Valenzuela, Chef Ramiro Arvizu and Javier Vaquer, spokesperson for Montejo, on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)



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Blog Kiosk: 8/18/2014 - Dodger Links - A Tough Weekend and Kemp's Ice Bucket Challenge


This was a very painful weekend series against the Brewers yesterday afternoon. The Dodgers got swept by our Central Division nemesis; having lost five of the six games we've played them this season.  BTW, this is the first time the Dodgers have been swept this year.  As a result, the Dodger now have just a 3.5 game lead over the Giants.  We are far from settling who will win the West this season.

The afternoon started well enough.  It was Cuban Heritage Day during Viva Los Dodgers, and much of the stadium was in a celebrating mood.  Puig and Hanley Ramirez greeted fans to much excitement, and Jessica Alba showed some great form during her warmups for her ceremonial first pitch.  Unfortunately, things went awry soon afterwards.

Foreshadowing the Dodgers start, Jessica Alba missed the plate during her first pitch, and starting pitcher Dan Haren gave up an first inning two-run homer to start the game.  From there, everything went downhill.  By the time the dust settled, the Brewers lead the Dodgers 7 to 0 at the end of the fourth inning.  The Dodgers wouldn't come close to threatening the Brewers lead the entire game.  Graphic above via @SportsNetLA on twitter.

Oh well.  Thankfully, the Dodgers get a day off today.  They have played twenty straight games, and are due for a rest.  As Vin Scully mentioned yesterday afternoon, Baseball union rules dictate that a team cannot play more than twenty games in a row.  No doubt, we need a little rest.

Now, here are some more links to check out.
  • ICYMI: Juan Uribe was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday.  Carlos Triunfel was called up from AAA in his place.  This injury hurts.  For all the criticism Uribe received when he first joined the Dodgers he has since become an important part of the Dodgers offense and defense.  He's a spark plug, and is easily the most underrated player on the team.
  • BTW, to complete the Roberto Hernandez trade the Dodgers sent former 2012 1st round draft pick, Jesmuel Valentin, to the Phillies, via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA.  This completes one-half of the trade.  Another player is still slated to go to Philadelphia.  This might seem like a hefty exchange, but it really isn't.  As an infielder, Valentin appeared to be blocked at every potential position, but likely received a good depth piece in Hernandez for a pennant run.
  • You should expect Pederson and Guerrero in Dodger Blue in September, via Jim Bowden on twitter. With the injuries currently hampering the Dodgers, September couldn't come fast enough.


"We love Hanley," Kasten said." There is still lots of time this season for him to make a big impact in September, and hopefully in October.

"Both sides have agreed we'll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide. We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he's had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us."
Do not be shocked if the Dodgers part way with Hanley this winter.  Considering his injury history, the potential cost and the current minor league depth the club has in the infield, we just might choose to go another direction.  Of course, if Hanley takes a discount then the aforementioned issues might be worth it.


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